The long history of inoculation has twists, turns, and unlikely heroes. Here’s the story from Yale University Press:
In England, the medical profession knew about engrafting in the early 18th century as it had been described in papers sent to the Royal Society in London and published in its Philosophical Transactions. It had been observed mostly in Turkey where elderly Greek women equipped only with a rusty needle appeared to have great success immunizing children against smallpox. Their “vaccine” was the smallpox infection itself. This was collected from the pustules of the already infected and preserved in walnut shells. Engrafting involved nothing more than pricking the skin of the child, in the arm or leg or both, and rubbing in the infection. If smallpox “took,” as it invariably did, the patient developed symptoms of the disease that were mostly mild and after two weeks subsided. Reports suggested that it was a miraculous defense against smallpox but the medical profession found it abhorrent and quite incomprehensible.
Their resistance was broken by a very brave aristocratic lady, Mary Wortley Montagu, who saw the Greek women in action when she lived briefly in Istanbul where her husband was ambassador. She had her son and later her daughter “engrafted” with complete success. Royalty was impressed, if the medical profession were mostly hostile. There followed in 1721 a bizarre piece of medical research the like of which would have been unthinkable today: prisoners in Newgate Gaol in London were offered freedom if they would undergo engrafting. All six volunteers survived. Next, some orphans were taken as guinea pigs, and they survived.
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.